Disney-MGM Studios Catwalk Bar

By Keith Mahne

Before Playhouse Disney and Disney Junior – Live on Stage! took over, Disney-MGM Studios had a neat restaurant inside the studio gate called the Soundstage Restaurant. More importantly, inside that restaurant and up in the rafters was a seldom heard of and seen area called the Catwalk Bar. Today, we take a rare peak at a lost gem where one could slip away for a nice cocktail and take in the scenery down below. Join me as we take a look inside the legendary Catwalk Bar…

Picture of the main area below the Catwalk Bar

Those of you who visited the Disney-MGM Studios in the early years may remember a restaurant in what is now the Animation Academy area. That restaurant was called the Soundstage Restaurant and the inside was designed from the actual movie sets of the Plaza Hotel that had been used in the movie “Big Business” starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin from 1988. The Soundstage Restaurant was located in Soundstage 5, which is where Playhouse Disney is located and was a full-service restaurant that was designed to give the effect of a “live set”.

A 1993 Disney-MGM Studios park map featuring the Soundstage Restaurant and Catwalk Bar circled in red.

It was a buffet that featured characters from Disney animated classics and served breakfast and lunch. The “live set” theme featured set pieces and props from other productions strategically lying about. There were sandbags on ropes and lighting control boards and that sort of thing hanging around. The Cast Members that worked at the restaurant wore catering costumes to tie-into the whole theme of the restaurant being a “wrap party”.

The Catwalk Bar can be seen above

Rare picture of the actual Catwalk Bar level

The real gem of the restaurant was the fantastic Catwalk Bar. The bar was a cocktail bar located on the catwalks above the seating and service areas for the Soundstage Restaurant. The bar served appetizers, light snacks and even featured sporting events on a large television. The photos above are the only few I have ever seen and are pretty rare as not that many people took photographs of the location. (If you have one that you may have snapped back then please let me know.) It’s hard to tell from the picture above but the Catwalk Bar was, in fact, pretty dark in reality and it was up high looking down into the main dining area. To get to the Catwalk Bar, you’d have to use a stairway or elevator between the Soundstage Restaurant and the Brown Derby that you can see below.

Areal shot of the park with the entrance location circled in red
Elevator and stairway entrance near Brown Derby bathrooms

On November 14, 1998, the Soundstage Restaurant closed for good to make room for a new show called Bear and the Big Blue House. After Bear in the Big Blue House took the location of the Soundstage Restaurant, the Catwalk Bar remained open, although it would be forced to close during showings. Due to this inconvenience, the Catwalk Bar eventually closed for good. Both the Soundstage Restaurant and the Catwalk Bar have since been removed while Disney Junior – Live on Stage! currently takes its place, but it will always remain an early piece of Disney-MGM history.

******

Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

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One thought on “Disney-MGM Studios Catwalk Bar

  1. Oh, wow! I stumbled on this as I was looking for info about this little gem at Disney. I've had many drinks there. I remember you would pass Aladdin's Lamp if you took the stairs. Great drinks. Sorry it is gone.

    Like

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